4th Fest ready for a blast: Final preps made for big fireworks show

bmilazzo@centredaily.comJuly 2, 2013 

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    Traffic, parking information

    A detour will be in effect during the Parade of Heroes. The route begins at the State College Municipal Building and travels.north on South Allen Street to East College Avenue, East on East College to Shortlidge Road, north on Shortlidge to Pollock Road, east on Pollock to Bigler Road, north on Bigler to Curtin Road, east on Curtin Road and ending near University Drive. The parade route will be closed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and parking will be restricted. Westbound traffic on East College Avenue will be detoured onto University Drive.

    State College police report there will be no significant changes in traffic patterns for inbound traffic prior to the 4th Fest fireworks display.

    Spectators should plan to arrive early and utilize the designated parking areas. Motorists will not be permitted to park along the streets near the stadium, along the Mount Nittany Expressway (I-99/Route 220) or Orchard Road. Parking restrictions will be enforced and violators will be ticketed and/or towed.

    Porter Road and Orchard Road will be closed from about 8 p.m. until the end of the fireworks.

    The following changes can be expected after the display, beginning at about 9:40 p.m.:

    •  Park Avenue will be one-way westbound from entrances to Beaver Stadium and Penn State Maintenance Building to North Atherton Street.

    •  Park Avenue will be one-way eastbound from entrances to Beaver Stadium and Penn State Maintenance Building to Orchard Road.

    •  Porter Road will be one-way southbound from Beaver Stadium to East College Avenue.

    Traffic control for the outbound pattern will be provided by State College and Penn State police. Traffic volume is expected to be equivalent to that of a Penn State football game.

    Events:

    Firecracker 4K Race

    When: 9 a.m.

    Where: Penn State campus, on the corner of University Drive and Curtin Road.

    Register: www.4thfest.org

    Pyro demo

    When: 4 p.m., 5 p.m. 7 p.m.

    Where: The Pyro Demo Tent

    State College Spikes baseball

    When: 1 p.m.

    Where: Medlar Field at Lubrano Park

    America’s Got Heroes Parade

    When: 2 p.m.

    Where: In front of the State College Municipal Building. The parade will travel north on South Allen Street to East College Avenue, East on East College to Shortlidge Road, north on Shortlidge to Pollock Road, east on Pollock to Bigler Road, north on Bigler to Curtin Road, east on Curtin Road and ending near University Drive. The parade route will be closed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and parking will be restricted. Westbound traffic on East College Avenue will be detoured onto University Drive.

    Carnival

    When: 2 p.m. to midnight.

    Where: Stadium West

    Pie Baking Contest

    When: 3:30 p.m.

    Where: Towne Square

    Military Display

    When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Where: Curtin Road near the Bryce Jordan Center

    Operation Thank You

    “Thank you” cards will be supplied, at 4th Fest where guests can personally thanks military personnel for their duty.

    When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Where: Curtin Road between the Jordan Center and Beaver Stadium.

    Fund: Donate $1 per signature or $10 per card. The money will be used to pay for the shipment of packages to overseas U.S. military personnel.

    Organization and kid crafts

    When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Where: Founder’s Mall

    Bob the Bike Guy

    When: 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Lot 44.

    Lumberjacks show

    When: 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

    Where: Lot 44

    Puppet show

    When: 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Founder’s Mall.

    Sky’s the Limit Ballooning

    When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Where: Grassy field by Lot 44.

    Fireworks

    When: 9:15 p.m.

    Where: Beaver Stadium

— Hannah Schuster, 14, and her 11-year-old brother, Brandon, are the masterminds behind at least one fireworks design for the Central PA 4th Fest.

The duo have been volunteering for three years with their grandparents, Janis and Bob Mathewson, of Port Matilda, who help with the pyrotechnic part of the planning.

“You take a lot of pride in this work when you know someone like your grandkids are behind it,” Janis Mathewson said.

The 4th Fest show is marketed as the third-largest fireworks display and celebration in the country. The event, which started in 2002, attracts up to 100,000 visitors from as far away as California.

Matt Lindenberg, co-chairman of pyrotechnics, said this year’s show will feature 11,600 fireworks.

“You’d be surprised that we get calls from people from all over asking if we’re doing the event again and each year, we say yes,” Lindenberg said.

Volunteers began setting up last week for the fireworks behind Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Lindenberg said about 100 volunteers help with the setup and organization of the event. By the Fourth of July, he said, there will be about 500 who help in all facets of the show.

“It’s really nice to see your work come together and see that your work can be a success,” Hannah Schuster said.

But the planning began long before volunteers started to set up.

Lindenberg said a committee of people meet around Labor Day to plan for ideas and order fireworks.

“It’s an all-year process,” he said. “We’ve actually began getting music inquiries for next year’s fireworks display and we’re not even done with this year yet.”

The 45-minute long firework display will be choreographed with numerous songs, which can be heard live on 93.7 The Bus. Lindenberg couldn’t say what songs were chosen this year, but said it would be both patriotic and upbeat to keep the viewers entertained.

In addition to the fireworks display at 9:15 p.m., numerous other events will be held around the stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center.

“Each year, we try to do something new,” Lindenberg said. “We always try to have one large event. One year we had skydivers. And we’re always changing the firework effects.”

This year, a team of professional lumberjacks from Minnesota will be the highlight of the event. Two teams of lumberjacks will compete in 11 different events, including logrolling.

The 30-minute lumberjack shows are scheduled for 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and after each show will be a 30-minute lumberjack camp where guests will have the opportunity to interact with the lumberjacks.

The State College Spikes will play a 1 p.m. game Thursday against Batavia at Medlar Field.

The Parade of Heroes will begin at 2 p.m. in downtown State College and cross the campus.

For more information, visit www.4thfest.org or contact Bernie Keisling at 404-8777 or by email at 4thfest@comcast.net.

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.

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